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Energy providers are urged to reverse steep price increases


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Plummeting costs of wholesale energy on world markets have prompted a call for energy providers to reverse recent steep price rises imposed on householders.

The energy suppliers have been accused of profiting from a succession of price hikes for households that they pushed through in the past two years.

Prices for households have come down in the past few months, but the decreases have been dismissed as "measly".

The appeal for bigger decreases comes as household budgets are stretched due to the shutdown of large parts of the economy, while the lockdown results in higher residential energy use.

Wholesale gas prices fell by 39pc in April alone, according to the latest Bord Gáis Energy index.

Around half of the electricity used in this country is generated from gas.

Wholesale electricity prices fell by 19pc in April.

Bord Gáis said demand was "unlikely to pick up in the near future as the effects of the current crisis on the global economy are likely to persist".

An analysis by price comparison site Bonkers.ie shows the main energy suppliers increased their energy prices for households three times since 2017, largely on the back of the spiralling price of gas. Cumulatively, the price increases added between 20pc and 28pc to the price of energy for consumers, Daragh Cassidy of Bonkers.ie calculated.

He said since last year the cost of wholesale gas was down almost 40pc. And the price of coal, another key component in our electricity generation, is now down to its lowest level in 20 years.

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He said: "The price decreases that have been announced so far have been fairly measly and in many cases leave prices far higher than they were a year ago when wholesale prices were far higher."

He said Flogas had increased its consumer prices by a cumulative 27.9pc since the winter of 2017, but had not announced a single price cut.

SSE has imposed cumulative price increases in electricity of 19.4pc. Its recent price decrease of just 2.7pc means the unit price of its electricity is still around 16pc above where it was in the winter of 2017, despite plummeting energy prices since then.

And Bord Gáis Energy cumulatively raised the price of electricity by 20pc between winter 2017 and 2019.

It recently announced a 4.5pc price decrease.

Mr Cassidy said: "Energy suppliers need to play their part and pass on further price decreases to consumers."

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